(Continued from Part 3: Something Silly, Something Gone)
Credit Shel Silverstein
We finally got down to it about three weeks after Jimmy was killed. It was a clear moonless night, with the kind of sky you rarely see anywhere but the desert. It looked like black velvet with a bucketful of diamonds strewn across it. Below, the blackness was even more complete. As we sat in our usual spot under the outcropping, we could just make out the shapes of the guys sitting right next to us. It seemed like a good time to talk about the note.
In a voice barely above a whisper, Paulie began the conversation. “Anybody got any idea what Jimbo was up to? I mean, if there were anyone I would less suspect of being involved in any kind of black ops, it would be Jimmy Flanagan. I’m surprised he even knew what it was.”
He was met with a silence as deep as the darkness. None of us had a clue. Jimmy was like a big happy puppy. Saying his name and Alcázar in the same sentence was unimaginable.
“Well, whatever it was, it sounds like he stumbled onto something he shouldn’t have. Must have been pretty damning to make them kill him,” Carlos said.
Ed raised a hand. “Hold on,” he said in a voice dripping with sarcasm. “They’re blaming the Taliban for it. They said the bullet was a .303, shot from a Lee Enfield. If they’re right, that’s Taliban all the way.”
“Uh-huh,” I replied. “And if your aunt had wheels, she’d be a trolley car.”
Had Jimmy not had the foresight to leave us the note now in my boot, we might--in fact, probably would--have bought that story. But we sure as hell didn’t now.
So, what to do about it?
Over the next several weeks, we hatched a rough plan. We were all in agreement. We didn’t want justice. No. We wanted revenge. Revenge for Jimmy was justice in our book. No point in trying to convince anyone of what Jimmy had told us. To begin with, we damn well didn’t want to paint targets on our backs. Besides, we had no evidence of anything. Not that Alcázar had anything to do with Jimmy’s death, or even that they were somehow profiting from the opium trade.
But we knew, and that was enough.
The plan was pretty sketchy, but we were in no hurry. As they say, revenge is a dish best served cold. We had plenty of time to work things out.
Our target was Adam Knight.
Our target was Adam Knight.
Knight was, and still is, the guy who reigns over Alcázar Sentinel Security. And we were going to hunt him down and take him out, the way he’d taken Jimmy Flanagan out. This lion was going to shoot back.
Operation Lafcadio was officially launched.
Time to get moving again. It’s after eight, and it’s only a fifteen-minute walk or so to the library, but my ass is going to sleep. I’ve been in Penn Station long enough. I’ve been getting up, wandering around, and sitting somewhere else. I’ve read the newspaper three times, done the crossword puzzle, and drunk entirely too much coffee. For the past half hour, I’ve put on a very credible show of impatience, if I do say so myself, as if waiting for a date who didn’t show. My version of method acting. It’s something I have some experience with. But I think I should move on. I know there are plainclothes cops schooling around Penn Station. I decide to wander the streets a bit as I mosey up toward 42nd Street.
As I’m about to get up, three thirty-something women walk into my row of seats. They are dressed in identical blue suits, and carrying coats and small travel bags. I take them to be flight attendants. Two of them sit across the aisle and down the row a bit. The only other seat available is next to me, and the third, an attractive redhead, makes a beeline for it.
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”
OK, maybe I don’t need to leave just yet.
I look at my watch again, this time to see how much time I can spare to spend in the company of this woman. Probably more than she has to spend with me. I’ve had too many women--some of them probably keepers—take off on me, so I’ve gotten used to it. When the girls are gone, I just move on.
Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it while it lasts.
“Nope, it’s all yours.” I gesture to the spot beside me, smiling. "Have a seat."
Continued in Part 5: Masks.
(Credit, and thanks, to author Shel Silverstein.)
Posted for River of Mnemosyne Challenge No. 8, Muse 4: “Whatcha Gonna Do When All the Girls Are Gone”